Preview: 2010-11 Upper Deck All Time Greats Basketball

Upper Deck brings you their next basketball product of the season on July 6, 2011, and this one comes with a bang. The man who really holds the crown in basketball has a ton of autographs ready for you to pull. Every 1 out of 6 boxes will have a Michael Jordan autograph. That’s right, your chances of pulling a MJ autograph are 1 in 6 boxes.

Each tin will have 3 base cards and 1 autographed card. The product will also be player specific, which means every box will have only one player in it. There will also be some mystery boxes with multiple players in it. This will be the next high end basketball product from Upper Deck however, so if you want 6 boxes to try and pull your MJ autograph, it’s going to cost you some dough. But “Sir Altitude” is not the only great autograph you can pull from this set.

There are only 20 players in this checklist. These 20 players are chosen specifically and you would want an autograph from just about any of them. This 2010-11 Upper Deck All Time Greats Basketball checklist is so small I am going to list it here for you. The checklist is as follows: Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Dr. J, Magic Johnson, Bill Russell, Larry Bird, Steve Nash, James Worthy, Jerry West, John Havlicek, David Robinson, Alonzo Mourning, Hakeem Olajuwon, Walt Frazier, Derrick Rose, Clyde Drexler, Grant Hill, Chris Paul, Larry Johnson, and finally Penny Hardaway. That is the complete checklist.

These players will be found in a number of different types of cards. Letterman signatures, Storybook Career booklet, One on One dual signature booklets, and All-Time 9 signatures which are 1 of 1s. Also is regular insert sets which are variably numbered.

One thing I don’t like is Upper Deck is bringing the Letterman subset with signatures on plastic across the top of it, not signed directly on the manufactured patch. Now I’ve always disliked manufactured patches, however, I have less of a problem with Letterman as being manufactured as it brings a fun set to collect the players whole name. But Topps tried this plastic piece over the top of relics and it didn’t go very well with collectors. I’m pretty sure this won’t go well either as it’s the same concept. Who knows, maybe the mainstream collector has changed their mind about this.

Finally there will also be some cut signatures of deceased players mixed with current legends in a dual signature booklet. I am hoping these cut signatures will be a little better designed then the recent Legendary Cuts product which wasn’t the best design in my eyes.

Otherwise, this set is filled with the current and former legends of the game and autographs will be plenty. With the odds of pulling a Jordan box in 1 every 6 boxes for around $285 a box, it’s definitely a gamble but with a solid checklist it will be a gamble worth taking.

Here is an example of the new Lettermans which I’m not a huge fan of. At least the signatures are more clear this way.

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5 Responses to Preview: 2010-11 Upper Deck All Time Greats Basketball

  1. mfw13 says:

    So someone explain to me why this product is worth $285 per box given that all of the players on the checklist, including Jordan, have autographs available on the secondary market for less than $100 (and in many cases less than $50)? The design is pretty average, and all the rest of the cards are artificially scarce junk that is no different than the many other products which have already produced the same type of cards.

    • You can say that about any high-end Topps product as well. It’s the way it works. You have high end players sign or have expensive cut autographs. You have to also have lower end players or else the box price would be even higher.

      Find me a certified Jordan autograph under $100.

  2. mfw13 says:

    But that’s exactly my point…as with most “high-end” products, nothing in this product is actually “high-end” except the box price. All of the autographs are from living players who have already signed tens of thousands of autographs and who will continue to sign tens of thousands more. The card design is utterly ordinary. The “scarce” low-numbered cards are scarce only because the manufacturer has decided to artificially limit their production, not because anything on them is actually scarce in and of itself.

    A year from now this product will be forgotten, and five years from now it will be collecting dust. Just look at the many other “high-end” products from the past ten years filled with “scarce” 1/1 autos and other “hot” cards. Unless its a product that has been around for a few years and developed a following, there isn’t much interest in even the scarcest or hottest of cards once the next wave of products has been released. Just look at the oodles of 1/1 cards for sale on Ebay that nobody wants.

    HOF autographs and artificially scarce 1/1 cards don’t make a product high-end anymore….those days are long since over. You’ve got to provide real value to collectors to justify a price as high as $285 a pack.

    • Let me clear a couple of things up. What you are mentioning is an industry wide issue, not just this one Upper Deck product. All of autographs in this product are NOT from living players. The checklist Upper Deck fails to provide, and I mention in the preview, is that there will be cut autographs from deceased players as well in the booklet cards. How many WIlt Chamberlain cuts are there out there?

      A year from now a lot of products will be forgotten. How can a company start a product and develop a following if they don’t try something new? Modern A&G baseball developed a following. Same with Sterling, Elite, etc. They all had to start somewhere.

      Everything you stated is more of an industry problem then anything that has to do with this product. You should feel the same way about every high end product that comes out, or even any product with possible legend autographs which have already flooded the market. You can’t just stop producing once it’s started. It won’t sell that way.

  3. mfw13 says:

    I agree completely. I do feel this way about all “high-end” products, which is why I do not buy any of them. None of them provide enough value to justify their prices.

    The only things which matter to me when deciding whether or not to buy a product are design and price. However even “low-end” products are still quite pricey (i.e. $2-3 a pack for 6-8 cards), and manufacturers seem incapable of coming up with an original card design which looks good, which is why retro-themed products using past designs are so popular. Upper Deck’s hockey products usually have decent designs, as has Topps baseball the past few years and Topps Magic FB this year, but there probably hasn’t been a product with an original design that I’ve truly loved since early 90’s UD.

    IMHO, the biggest problem facing the hobby today is the fact that manufacturers have forgotten the basics of retailing, i.e. providing a good product at a good price. So much focus is spent on relics/autos/rookies/low-numbered cards, etc. that design has become a virtual afterthought.

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